About Strengthening Families

The Strengthening Families process was first trialed in Waitakere city, Auckland in the mid-1990s and has been available throughout the country since 1999.  As well as delivering better support to families, local support services work together to make sure families get all the services they need. Eleven government departments have committed to being part of Strengthening Families and staff are expected to be involved as a core part of their work. 

What is Strengthening Families trying to achieve?

Strengthening Families provides a way for families to get co-ordinated access to services. It is run in a way that meets the unique needs of each family/whānau. This builds on the strengths and dreams of families, with support from health, social service, education and other services working together.

The aim is to offer help before a family/whānau has serious problems requiring intensive or statutory intervention.  By promoting cooperation between community organisations, social services and government agencies, everyone involved works more effectively and efficiently with the families/ whānau involved in the process.

Strengthening Families Vision

Children, young people and their families/whānau have the opportunity to reach their full potential and participate positively in society.

Long-term outcomes for Strengthening Families

The health, education and social outcomes for children, young people and their families/whānau are improved through Strengthening Families.  As a result they feel stronger, more connected to, and supported by their communities.

Results for Strengthening Families:

  • Families/whānau with dependent children and/or young people with multiple needs are offered a holistic process to address those needs and co-ordinated support services.
  • Families/whānau and their children and/or young people who participate in the Strengthening Families process have improved social, health and education outcomes.
  • Families/whānau who have been supported by the Strengthening Families process are enabled to access support services independently.
  • Community organisations and government agencies are encouraged to work together more effectively and efficiently with families/ whānau in a collaborative manner.

Strengthening Families Case Studies

The following case studies illustrate Strengthening Families at work and the difference it has made in the lives of families with children and young people experiencing multiple service support needs. 

International study on Strengthening Families

Strengthening Families was recently featured as a case study in an international study on sharing “front office services”. This is a name given to services that take a coordinated, holistic approach to service delivery, and are focused on supporting people’s whole life needs. In a nutshell the report concludes that in moving to a citizen-centric delivery model “…the challenges can be daunting but are far outweighed by the potential benefits of more holistic, coordinated service delivery and the resulting improvement in outcomes”.